• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

Council votes to revert to 5-day work week for county offices

July 27th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Megan Hoth

LOGAN—The Cache County Council voted Tuesday night to switch the county’s office hours back to a five-day work week from the current 10-hour, four-day work week.

The Council looked at statistical information provided and collected by the state to consider whether the four-day work week, which had been implemented by the state three years ago, had a positive effect on community members or if the five-day work week would better serve the public.

In 2008, then-Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. instituted a statewide four-day work week for state workers in hopes of reducing energy costs. After an audit showed that the switch failed to meet desired results, current Gov. Gary Herbert announced that the four-day work week would switch back to the five-day work week starting Sept. 6.

While the first switch to the four-day week was mandatory, the change back to the five-day week is optional. The Council had mixed views of the statistical information and which option would be best for the community.

Cache County Assessor Kathleen Howell said the four-day week with longer hours benefited citizens using the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The DMV sees “more citizens in one day than almost all the other [county] departments, combined, see in a month,” Howell said. She said having the DMV open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. accommodates people who work without taking time off.

“We have got to listen what the public wants,” said Howell. “And the public wants a four-day work week.”

But Councilman Cory Yeates said that he gets numerous phone calls from citizens saying how much they don’t like the four-day week.

“I don’t buy that we are serving the public by being closed on Fridays,” he said.

Howell acknowledged that the Council hears mostly from those who are complaining about the four-day week, pointing out that people rarely write or email the Council about issues they are happy with. Howell said that she interacts every day with citizens who like the extended hours of the four-day week and who feel better served.

Councilman Gordon Zilles suggested that the county move back to the five-day week with the possibility of keeping higher traffic departments, such as the DMV, on the same five-day week but with the added extended hours. Howell said that would require more staff, which would cost a significant amount of money for the county.

Councilwoman Kathy Robison said that the county just spent three years getting citizens used to the four-day work week, “so why change it now?” She said that department heads, such as Howell, were hired to run the county’s services and it was important to trust their judgment.

Cache County Development Director Josh Runhaar said his department liked the four-day work week and had accommodated citizens who needed services on Fridays. Runhaar said the extended hours allowed for inspections before and after people’s work. He said that most departments had willingly made special arrangements for tasks that required Friday work and asked what other services, besides the DMV, were not being provided on Fridays.

Council Chairman Jon White emphasized that the Council was not criticizing how the DMV has been run or that there is a lack of service from the DMV. He said that DMV has done a good job, but questioned how they could be doing more to serve the community.

County Executive Lynn Lemon said that from the citizens he’s talked to, the overwhelming feeling is that a decision needs to be made and the county needs to stick with it.

“The public will adjust,” said Councilman Val Potter speaking of changing back to the five-day week.

After a failed attempt by Councilman Craig Petersen to postpone the decision and include a public hearing, the council voted 4-2 to revert to the five-day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, which will take effect Sept. 6. Potter, Yeates, Zilles and Craig Buttars voted in favor of the switch, with White and Robison against and Petersen abstaining because of lack of information and public notice.


Tags: ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.